Workamping Lessons from 100 year-old Ranch Business

I completely forgot that today is my blog day. Just as I was about to beat myself up because I spaced, I remembered one of the reasons why I enjoy workamping at Vickers Ranch.

No Internet? There’s Always Tomorrow

Workamping without Internet
No Internet? Life really does go on.

When the Internet became indispensable for doing business, everything got faster, more intense, more on-demand and serious for the business owner and the customer. And now, when things don’t go as planned, well, suddenly it’s the end of the world. Or so it seems. 

Logically speaking, we working fools know that when the shit hits the fan in business, there’s always another tomorrow. But we tend to forget this important fact when we screw up, or things break, or a deadline gets missed. 

But at the ranch, things are different.

Last week the Internet went down. Our office got hit by lightening and it blew out the phones and the Internet. And guess what happened? Nobody panicked. 

Phone service came back the next day. But we had no Internet for six entire days. That meant no emails we being answered, no reservation requests being taken, no credit cards were getting charged, nada. All this, during the busiest month of the year.

The Vickers family was annoyed, but the lack of Internet wasn’t the main topic of conversation. Nobody had a meltdown, nobody panicked.

In fact, when their wireless broadband provider said he couldn’t get out here until yesterday, Jim and I were more irritated than they were. We kept thinking of all the ways we would have made heads roll and raised a ruckus if a vendor told us they were going to take nearly a week to fix such an integral part of our business. But we mostly kept our mouths shut, and watched the way things got (or rather, didn’t get) handled. 

Lake Fork Gunnison River Colorado
Nobody was too concerned about the rising river either.

Everyone went about doing their jobs. Horses got fed and taken out for rides. Cows got checked on. Cabin projects got done. Weeds got whacked. Guests got checked in and checked out. Basically, life went on without the Internet.

Can you imagine?

A Lesson We’ll Take With Us

The business efforts Jim and I run cannot survive without the Internet. This essentially means we can’t feed ourselves without 24/7 connectivity. Thankfully, we rely upon various redundant mobile internet options for reliable connectivity allowing us to work from anywhere. Take that away and you take away our ability to earn a living. And as much as I love the way this technology enables us to enjoy our nomadic way of life, when I see how businesses like the Vickers can go on without this mixed blessing technology, well, there’s a twinge of envy in my mind.

The Vickers know that in the big scheme of things, not having something like the Internet was a small thing not worth breaking a sweat over. It’s an attitude they’ve kept for over 100 years and it works. Things aren’t perfect, operations can sometimes get chaotic and disorganized, but everyone does the best they can and in return, the ranch gives back. 

It’s challenging to give 20 hours a week to working here (Jim, 34 hours), but ultimately it’s good for us. Because a situation like not having Internet for a week is a first world problem, and a reminder not to take our own income generation efforts so seriously.

We will do well by following their example.


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